Book documents self-propelled global circuit
Published Saturday, April 14, 2007 9:19AM EDT
Colin Angus spent nearly two years cycling, skiing and rowing his way around the world in order to complete the first human-powered circumnavigation of the planet.
Now, nine months after finishing the 43,000-kilometre journey, Angus has completed "Beyond the Horizon," his new book documenting the arduous adventure.
Already a seasoned adventurer, Angus rafted the length of the Amazon River in 1999 along with two friends, and two years later he paddled down the Yenisey river -- the world's fifth longest, stretching from Mongolia to the northern coast of Russia.
His latest trip was a nearly two-year route:
- from Vancouver to Alaska
- across the Bering Sea and into Siberia
- across Europe from Moscow to Portugal
- across the Atlantic in a rowboat to Costa Rica
- and finally north by bicycle back to Vancouver.
In his new book Angus documents both the low points and the high points of the adventure, the diverse terrain he passed through and the people he met along the way in his zero-emissions journey to to inspire others to reduce their own carbon emissions count.
He told CTV.ca that his biggest struggle was encountering Hurricane Vince in the mid-Atlantic ocean.
The eye of the storm was about 150 kilometres from the boat he and his fiancee Julie Wafaei were travelling in. She accompanied Angus for a good portion of the journey after relations broke down with Tim Harvey, his original partner.
"Julie and I were in the cabin locked up, batting everything down, and it was similar to being in a barrel going over a never-ending staircase of waterfalls, bashing around, flying against the walls," Angus said.
"The walls are padded so it does help, but you still end up getting battered and bruised, but the biggest thing is the fear of the unknown. ... Is the boat going to make it? This is a storm that has the power to level a city and you're in a little quarter-inch plywood rowboat and no one can come rescue you."
The encounter with Vince was just one of a number of moments along the way when Angus felt that his life was in danger. Another came in Siberia, when he was caught in a storm and had to dig a snow cave to survive, and yet another was when an Atlantic freighter came within inches of turning the rowboat into driftwood.
But in addition to providing some of the most dramatic moments in the adventure, Angus said the Atlantic Ocean was also where he experienced some of the most serene, peaceful times.
"I think the most magical and memorable moments come from the Atlantic Ocean just because it is so far removed from your regular world being on land. It's just a completely different experience being on a little rowboat in the middle of a vast ocean, being months away from reaching land. And your world simplifies," he said.
"When things were serene, when the weather was calm, there was quite a collection of wildlife that gathered around our boat. For me I think that is the part that was most memorable, most exciting -- getting to see all these different fish and animals, dolphins, whales."
His sense of accomplishment comes not just from the adventure, but from the success of a cross-Canada film tour that generated enough income to pay off the massive debt accumulated by the expedition.
He said he will never forget how it felt to arrive home after 720 days of travel -- having burned through 4,000 chocolate bars, 72 inner tubes, 250 kilograms of freeze-dried foods, two offshore rowboats and four bicycles on the expedition.
"It's great. It was a wonderful feeling when we reached the totem pole in Vancouver which represented the end of the trip. It was a moment I had dreamed about for so many years -- I mean two years of just thinking, and so many times it seemed impossible," he said.
"It was just overwhelming, the thought of rowing over oceans, canoeing, biking across mud and snow and slush and everything else, but at the same time you couldn't help but think 'oh won't that be nice when we get to the end and we've completed this journey. One of the most incredible moments of my life was reaching that totem pole."
Though Angus and Wafaei have completed a "rough edit" version of the film documenting their adventure, they are working on producing another more complete, high quality version, from the 96 hours of footage they have collected.